SHAFAQNA – A Federal High Court sitting in Kaduna State has adjourned the hearing of the case filed by the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (Shiites) against the Nigerian Army and three others.
But at the resumed sitting on the matter on Thursday, hearing on the suit could not go on.
This is because lawyers to the first, second, third and fourth defendants in the suit had filed an objection, describing the suit as an abuse of court process since the applicants had earlier filed a similar suit at court of same jurisdiction in Abuja.
The applicants, however, filed a counter affidavit, insisting that both suits are different and should be treated differently on their own merit.
The lawyers for the defendants then sought an adjournment to enable them to study the issues raised before the next sitting.
The adjournment, according to the presiding judge, Justice Salisu Shuaibu, is as a result of the inability of the defence counsel to identify and argue on the objection that was earlier filed by counsel to the Army and Chief of Army Staff on the alleged abuse of court process by the applicants.
In his ruling, Justice Shuaibu informed both parties that all their objections will be heard on the next adjourned date, 30th June, 2017.
Reacting to the ruling, counsel to the IMN and the Attorney General of Kaduna State said the adjournment will afford all the parties involved in the case the time to adequately prepare themselves for the hearing.
The prominent cleric Ayatollah Ibrahim Zakzaky and his wife were taken into custody on December 14, 2115, after deadly clashes between the supporters of the IMN movement and Nigerian troops.
Nearly 350 members of the Shia movement were killed in the clashes. The sheikh was brutally injured and his house was reportedly destroyed by the army in the incident.
The judge said he had given 45 days for authorities to provide new accommodation for the Zakzaky family. The accommodation is to be in the town of Zaria, Kaduna state, where the family were detained, or in other parts of the state or alternatively any other part of northern Nigeria.
Kolawole said the State Security Service would pay each of Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife $78,984 in compensation for the violation of their rights by being held in unlawful custody for nearly a year.
Nearly 100 IMN supporters were killed when Nigerian forces fired live rounds and tear gas at mourners during a peaceful march ahead of the Arbaeen mourning rituals, which mark 40 days after the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hussein (AS), the third Shia Imam. Authorities also destroyed a number of buildings belonging to the IMN.
The Nigerian government has stepped up its crackdown on the IMN since the December 2015 deadly incident.
Members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) on Wednesday, April 26, occupied the streets of Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city to mark the 500 days in detention of Sheikh Zakzaky.